Dozens of Russian soldiers feared dead as Ukraine strikes Moscow-controlled region

DONETSK, UKRAINE – DECEMBER 30: Soldiers of the 59th brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces fire grad missiles on Russian positions in Russia-occupied Donbas region on December 30, 2022 in Donetsk, Ukraine. A large swath of Donetsk region has been held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014. Russia has tried to expand its control here since the February 24 invasion. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

Pierre Crom | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Ukraine killed dozens of Russian servicemen using U.S.-supplied artillery to hit a base in an occupied part of the country on New Years Eve, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Sixty-three servicemen died after 4 HIMARS artillery warheads struck a “provisional base,” the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday in a Telegram post. Two projectiles were shot down, the statement added.

Earlier, a senior Russian-backed official in occupied Donetsk said “vocational school” in the city of Makiivka had been hit by U.S.-supplied HIMARS.

“A significant number of dead and wounded,” Daniil Bezsonov, said in a Telegram post on Sunday night.

While Ukraine has not taken responsibility for the attack, its armed forces posted a cryptic message on Telegram Sunday night: “As a result of ‘careless handling of heating devices,’ neglecting security measures, and smoking in an unspecified place, Santa packed about 400 corpses of Russian servicemen in bags.”

“About 300 more have wounds of varying degrees of severity,” the account added.

NBC News was unable to verify claims from either side. Ukrainian officials were not immediately available for comment.

On Sunday, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said many civilian facilities had come under Ukrainian fire over the New Year’s Eve, according to TASS.

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